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Enrolled Agent Requirements: 2 Simple Tracks Towards Qualification

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enrolled agent requirementsEnrolled Agent requirements are quite simple when compared to other accounting and tax related qualifications.

There are two paths that you can become an EA:

  • By exam
  • By experience

We will go over them separately in detail.

Enrolled Agent Requirements in Two Different Tracks

1. By Exam

One can become an Enrolled Agent by passing the Special Enrollment Examination (SEE), or more commonly known as the Enrolled Agent exam.

To qualify for the exam, all you need is a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN). Nothing else.

You don’t need specific education or experience to be eligible for the EA exam.

To apply for PTIN, submit your personal information and individual tax return. As long as you don’t state any felony convictions or discrepancies with your federal tax obligations, you are granted the PTIN immediately after payment. The application process takes about 15 minutes from start to finish.

2. By Experience

An individual can also become an Enrolled Agent by accumulating experience in the IRS and fulfill the criteria stated in Circular 230:

Applicants must have been regularly engaged in applying and interpreting the provisions of the Internal Revenue Code and the regulations relating to income, estate, gift, employment, or excise taxes.

Specifically, they need to fulfill the following criteria:

Number of Years of Experience

  • At least 5 years at the IRS
  • 3 of these 5 years must have occurred within the last 5 years prior to separation from the IRS.

Nature of Job

It has to be “taxpayer-facing” field position. Examples include:

  • appeals officer
  • special agent
  • revenue officer
  • revenue agent
  • tax specialist
  • tax law specialist
  • settlement officer

Common Questions from Readers

What are the Enrolled Agent education requirements?

There is no specific education required to get qualified for the EA exam. However, it does not mean the exam itself is easy. Please check out the FAQ page for pass rate info and how hard this exam can get.

What is Enrolled Agent CPE requirements?

These are continuing professional education that an EA should take after passing the exam.

What are SEE exam requirements?

SEE exam (Special Enrollment Examination) is the official name for the Enrolled Agent exam. The requirement are the exactly the ones described here.

Next Step

Most people go for the first track. To get started, check out these pages on:

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For Your Further Reading

  • Nitheesh V V says:

    Does EA qualification makes sense for a person residing outside the US?
    Does it add value to a person who is already a CPA?
    Does it increases the chances of landing a job in the US for a person residing outside the US?

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Nitheesh, I would say it is only useful if your clients are in the US because it covers explicitly US taxation.

      It does add value to some CPA, for those who want to specialize in tax and wants to advertise themselves this way. EA goes a lot deeper than the typical CPA coverage.

      I wouldn’t say that it increases a chance to land a job. Many EAs work on their own instead of working in corporations. Regards, Stephanie

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